Facebook, Grow Natural, and Small Business Marketing
In the light drizzle of a Saturday morning in Fullerton, I found refuge in Grow Natural, a quaint business downtown, where the smell of fresh muffins coupled with the falling rain to create a soothing ambiance. The wooden floors of Grow Natural reminded me of a comfortable nook in the woods, and the shelves were lined with an assortment of all-natural products and childish phrases written in crayon. My cousin and his wife gave birth to their first child a few months ago, and I was looking for some baby-friendly organic products to send out to the windy city.
I spoke with the store owner, Jennifer Iturburo, about which product was most suitable for a two-month old baby girl. She took the time to explain to me the differences in products, and was enthusiastically knowledgeable about all of it. I asked if she used Facebook to market herself. She said she had experimented with it a little, but was not optimistic about the monetary results it could get her.
Which then got me thinking. How can Facebook benefit Jennifer?
Let’s get a little background information on Grow Natural before diving in to how Facebook can present her product in a marketable light. Selling an array of organic baby supplies, Grow Natural also provides educational forums for parents and their babies, like Organic Cooking, Mama Makeover, and Makeover My Diaper Bag classes that have been gaining momentum in the Fullerton community. With a background in cosmetics, Jennifer has combined her makeup professionalism with her love for organic products to establish this wonderful hybrid of a store that caters to both parents and their organically-inclined babies.
Okay, now for the social media plan.
Facebook for Small Businesses
For small businesses, Facebook is the immediate route to take. As the world’s leading social media platform, everyone is on Facebook. A few weeks ago Facebook announced it had acquired its one billionth user. Considering the world population, which clocks in a little over seven billion, you can understand why businesses across the globe are eager to tap into this social keg Facebook has brewed up.
Jennifer can begin by creating a Facebook Page. FB Pages are great for businesses who want to have a professional presence. Think of an FB Page as a constant billboard advertisement on the social media highway. List any and all information about your business that you can, becuase you want your viewer to have an instant idea of what your company is about. Do not make them fish around to figure it out, because they will leave before listening to the story you want them to hear.
Once her page is created, Jennifer can begin adding content to her page. She can add photos, information about her classes and the products she offers, and can begin exploring ways to upload how-to videos to her page which would provide her followers with instructional cosmetics videos or commercials for her workshops. After a week’s worth of content is up (2-3 post/day), Jennifer should start to pitch her page to clients that come into the store.
Facebook thrives on word of mouth.
With many Facebook social circles dominated by friends and family members, the best way for Jennifer to get more clients through Facebook is by advertising to the ones she already has. And how to do this without spamming them? By including photos of her clients and their children interacting in her workshops; by having a contest where whoever takes the cutest picture of their baby using an all-natural product is rewarded with a store discount or some free gear. Jennifer can count on the fact that her clients will “share” her fan-inspired content amongst their social networks, which will invariably give Grow Natural more digital exposure; and not just digital exposure, but a healthy social reputation built on testimonials and trust.
Building an authentic local following is key for small business when using social media. With small marketing budgets, the best way to generate a buzz is by letting your fans- the ones who are extremely happy with your product and want to share your marketing story- do all the talking. Think of it as free advertising. Or, at the least, think of your content as a textual tune that you want your clients to whistle when they are at the gym, or picking their kids up from daycare, or anywhere in their daily lives where they have the opportunity to talk about the benefits of your company.
After she has established trust, Jennifer would need to stay on top of fan-engagement, and make sure she addresses any and all comments sent her way. By keeping in social touch with clients, a personalized relationship is formed, and Jennifer’s page will look more like a friendly hot zone for organic products and baby-driven conversation than an advertorial page with boring content.
Sure, the statistical side of Facebook is just as important, and Jennifer would need to keep track of various metrics and analytical measurements that would help her formulate the most effective, and cost-effieicnt marketing strategy. But she needs to begin small by cultivating a following that is genuine, that is full of people who are willing to spread the word. Statistics only muddle the situation, and can be a little misleading as most social media campaigns take months and months of hard work before any kind of progress can be determined.
Indeed, for Jennifer, and most small businesses out there, the hardest part is getting a foot in the social media door. But the social light at the end of the tunnel must be found if businesses hope to compete with the constant and aggressive changes in today’s digital consumer market. Mass amounts of money cannot be made overnight. And Facebook is not going to skyrocket your profit in a few posts. But with small businesses like Grow Natural, who have fantastic products/services and a desire to begin a conversation with their social community, the creative marketing possibilities are limitless.
This brief social media outline certainly has room for more suggestions and technological solutions to help with marketing woes. But sometimes simplicity is the key, and beginning with the basics will help clarify the foggy marketing mirrors of social media.